Theism in a Postmodern World
Professor W. C. Calhoun
June 22, 2009
In today’s postmodern world, ideals of being consumed with self and self appropriated ideas of truth leave God forgotten and to them, God is dead. This same thought process see’s no reason or logic to bring God into the picture let alone into their lives. The pervasive postmodern worldview today includes precepts such that self decides who we become, as well as, is not necessary to have a God who should be in control of our lives. It is difficult for a Christian to live out his theistic worldview in today’s postmodern world, but it can be done because of our beliefs in God. Like every leaf that falls to the ground, the Lord also knew of all the worldviews that would come into existence and yet He still gave the command to, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”(Matthew 28:18-20, NIV). God is not dead but rather simply ignored and rejected by the proponents of postmodern thinking in today’s world. It is our charge as Christians to put on the armor of God, stand firm in Him, and go forth boldly into postmodern world proclaiming the good news we are taught.
Theism in a Postmodern World
Christian theism, at best, can very loosely be compared to postmodernism in that both have established a worldview. Each also has a set of ideas to which the follower adheres to, in order to live a fulfilled life. However, these set of guidelines, if you will, are vastly different and lead to different ends. Christian theism principles are based upon the existence of God while postmodernism principles are based upon individual and/or personal reasoning. Sire goes as far to state, “…Theism is a complete worldview because it has a basis for metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology” while “…postmodernism is more than, and less than a worldview” (Sire, 2004). So how do we promote Christian theism over postmodernism? How can one be persuaded to pick one view over the other? People are still thinking and searching, therefore it is imperative to understand the underlying thoughts of theism and postmodernism.
Christian theism used to be a worldview acknowledged, followed, and lived by many. In the Reformation period everyone chose to believe God was the creator of the universe and true knowledge or wisdom was found only by knowing Jesus. This is not to suggest everyone believed in Him as their personal Savior, but rather, there was an acknowledgement and appreciation or respect of Him. Sire makes an assertion about theism, in particular, theism “is the foundational view, the one from which all others” developed (Sire, 2004). This would make sense because God has existed since the beginning of time, and because of God’s eternal existence, theism is a worldview totally complete in its ideas.
A cornerstone idea in Christian theism declares “God is infinite and personal [triune], transcendent and imminent, omniscient, sovereign, and good” (Sire, 2004). Simply translated, God existed before time and will continue to exist for all of eternity. As much as He is personal, He desires each individual to search for Him and to have a relationship with Him.
Another important aspect of Christian theism is how “God created the cosmos ex nihilo to operate with a uniformity of cause and effect in an open system” (Sire, 2004). The lesson in this is simple because it shows us God created this world out of nothing, therefore, the idea of a big bang is something of a falsity. God created this world in an orderly fashion which took Him exactly six days because He rested on the seventh. Easy to see is how God represents order and how He would never promote anything chaotic, evil, or be compared / confused with the big bang theory....
References: Forte, B. (2003). The Essence of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Bruce, 2002/2003) (Forte, 2003)
John 3:16. Retrieved on 16 June 2010 from http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-King
Jones, T. (2001). Postmodern Youth Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan Publishing
Matthew 28:18-20. Retrieved on 16 June 2010 from
McQuilkin, J. R., & Mullen, B. (Mr 1997). The Impact of Postmodern Thinking on Evangelical
Hermeneutics. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 40(1), 69-82.
Sire, J. W. (2004). The Universe Next Door (4th ed.) [A Basic Worldview Catalog]. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. (Original work published 1976) (Sire, 1976/2004)
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